Many organizations are wrestling with the economics of cloud computing . This is especially true in High Performance Computing (HPC) and analytics where applications often demand clustered, scaled-out infrastructure. These types of workloads are often “spiky” or unpredictable and the costs associated with infrastructure can be substantial.
As a few examples:
A life sciences firm may need compute capacity only at particular stages in the drug development lifecycle
An engineering firm’s workload may vary depending on their active contract portfolio or the specific nature their projects
An insurance firm may require large amounts of computing power to meet regulatory reporting obligations but only for brief periods at month or quarter end
Provisioning infrastructure to meet periodic peaks is costly. Ideas like peak-shaving, out-sourcing and hybrid clouds are not new but organizations seeking to leverage public Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offerings can run into a variety of technical and business challenges.
How to guarantee quality-of-service (QoS) in multitenant environments
Data management and security
How to manage, meter and throttle the usage of variable cost resources
How to manage commercial software licenses
How to ensure that local assets are fully utilized before tapping assets in the cloud
These business... [Continue Reading]
Your organization might have deployed a cluster or grid on site. But can these resources always meet your peak demands? For example, what happens when several large projects move into the same simulation and design phase at the same time?
Simply adding hardware to address peak workload requirements, especially if they are short term, is probably not an option. Expanding the physical infrastructure can require significant time, expertise and budget. And the data center may already be maxed out on power, cooling and real estate. What’s the answer?
To address these challenges, at Pulse 2014, IBM announced the IBM Platform Computing Cloud Service , which provides ready-to-run clusters in the SoftLayer cloud that are optimized for compute-intensive technical computing and analytics applications. The Cloud Service comes complete with Platform LSF (SaaS) and Platform Symphony (SaaS) workload management software, dedicated physical machines and the support of the Platform Computing Cloud Operations team.
Organizations that have on-site clusters or grids can quickly address spikes in infrastructure demand by implementing a hybrid cloud. Platform Computing Cloud Service enables these organizations to forward workloads from local infrastructure to a Platform LSF or Platform Symphony cluster in the SoftLayer cloud, quickly accommodating demand without being concerned about security or... [Continue Reading]
Effective management and use of virtualized IT resources is a key pillar of the IBM Software Defined Environment (SDE) strategy. Of course, virtualized IT is nothing new and was invented by IBM back in the late 60s and used until today by many organization as part of Virtual Machine/370 and follow on systems. Users and applications were allocated virtual machines that gave them virtual compute, storage and even cool things like virtual printers and punches!
So what is different about the technology and the environment now that brings virtualization into the forefront of enabling a new wave of IT automation for today's demanding mobile , big data & analytics workloads?
Earlier mainframe virtualization environments and the more recent emergent UNIX and x86 virtualization solutions were based on proprietary formats and interfaces. This left anyone trying to implement an IT automation solution on top of these systems to write multiple implementations or use plugins and abstraction layers to hide the differences. Today, with OpenStack receiving wide spread acceptance as an open standard for virtual IT resource management, solution developers can develop to one interface.
In my early days as a programmer, I wrote automation programs to create and configure VM/370 virtual resources in support of diverse applications. This included carving out virtual disks and allocating... [Continue Reading]
Over the past couple of months, Software Defined Infrastructures have been quite a hot topic in the IT industry and for IBM. At IBM, we use a more global term: Software Defined Environments (SDEs). There are a number of slightly varying definitions of what SDE means – Matt Hogstrom gave a good definition in one of his recent blogs – but I want to summarize just the most important points from my perspective: SDE is all about application workloads and about using orchestration technology to provide some IT service to end users under certain qualities of services. What started out as Software Defined Compute , Network or Storage using virtualization technology grew to also include middleware and application stacks and into what we call Software Defined Environments today.
One very important aspect with SDE is that workloads have to be described as machine-readable patterns so that orchestration engines can interpret them, can instantiate the required software-defined resources, deploy the respective middleware and application workloads on-top and manage the complete workload to fulfill Service Level Objectives (SLOs). Since those patterns encapsulate quite some expert knowledge and it takes time and skills to create them, it is important to decide on the right format for encoding them. As a pattern author, it is a wise decision to stick to an open, standardized format. This will make your solution portable across... [Continue Reading]
If you thought 2013 was a big year in the world of “ Software Defined ,” brace yourself for 2014. Both Gartner and Forrester Research called out Software Defined as a top 10 strategic technology trend for 2014. A new era of workloads, which we at IBM call Systems of Engagement, is driving this IT transformation to Software Defined Environments (SDE) . Workloads such as mobile , social , and big data & analytics – often delivered via cloud computing – are disrupting today’s IT infrastructures with crushing complexity, rapid demand cycles and accelerating business requirements. SDE helps organizations address this pain through simplified, responsive and adaptive infrastructure solutions.
Automation is at the core of SDE – think of SDE as being the next generation automation in cloud computing environments. SDE enables business users to describe their requirements of the IT environment in a systematic way that in turn drives automation of the infrastructure . Whether it’s deploying new workloads on optimal resources, reconfiguring infrastructure to ensure service objectives, leveraging off-premise clouds for extra capacity, or accelerating software deployment using patterns, automation with SDE is the key for ensuring cost-effectiveness, performance levels and speed. And it’s all based on IT policies and business rules.
At... [Continue Reading]
IBM recently announced Power Virtualization Center (PowerVC) to simplify virtualization management and extend the capabilities of IBM Power Systems . PowerVC unleashes the strengths of IBM Power Systems core platform virtualization through IBM’s collaboration with OpenStack .
The technologies and broad ecosystem that OpenStack brings are driven by a large community of commercial companies and developers with the mission to provide a ubiquitous Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud management platform. This is a huge step forward that will enable you to increase your utilization of the platform and gain greater agility and responsiveness to the increasing changes and demands being placed on your IT infrastructure .
But Wait, there’s more!
PowerVC is also a key enabler for Power Systems within a Software Defined Environment (SDE). Software defined environments represent a significant and important transformation in IT infrastructure virtualization. A Software Defined Environment uses virtualization to express hardware resources as manageable software entities and to control them with advanced programmed automation.
Resource virtualization has reached the point where it applies to all foundational elements of IT infrastructure: servers , storage and network . These elements can be effectively virtualized to present logical projections of the physical resources they... [Continue Reading]
Today’s leading organizations face immense pressure to stay agile and responsive to rapidly-changing, highly competitive business environments. The emergence of cloud , big data , mobile and social is forcing organizations to rethink the way they do business.
In order to quickly and effectively respond to these dynamic market forces, organizations must design an IT infrastructure that is flexible and resilient. Organizations need a new approach to automating IT infrastructures to make them simplified, adaptive and responsive . Software Defined Environment (SDE) to the rescue!
A Software Defined Environment brings the next generation of automation that easily integrates cloud, mobile, social and big data workloads into the existing business operations
A Software Defined Environment is optimized to deliver the agility, efficiency and performance needed for today’s workloads
In my previous blog , I discussed about the growing value of Software Defined Environments in businesses. In this blog, let’s take a look at how SDE is the infrastructure enabler for today’s workloads. Here are a couple of simple examples:
An enterprise solution is gradually being migrated to Cloud . The plan is to incrementally deploy the solution through develop to deploy lifecycle. The SDE approach can be utilized here to define business rules to allocate the required compute, storage and network... [Continue Reading]
Data Centers today have to manage and mine massive volumes of data. Data that seems to be growing at the speed of light and data that is coming from disparate sources. All this can be very complex to manage and very expensive to maintain – for hardware, software, networking in the least. So many organizations are leaning towards moving data centers to Cloud environments to benefit from the shared services concepts and multiple deployment models. Cloud deployment models also leverage the advances in storage and server virtualization and provide these resources to cater to the dynamic systems demands for the organizations.
But the market needs are rapidly changing and thus demands are outpacing the system performance. Even with all the advances made in cloud technologies, the increasing complexity of the solution deployments and system demands are creating bottlenecks. There seems to be an ever increasing need for streamlining and smarter delivery of shared services to make data centers more dynamic and flexible.
The organizations are seeking ‘workload automation and optimization’ and are typically asking for the following:
Workloads: requirement to dynamically assign resources to application based on their needs and best available resources.
Open APIs: The enterprises deploy solutions based on a broad spectrum of solution providers. So there is a stronger demand for a programmable... [Continue Reading]
Much before there was a buzz around “Software Defined”, a lot of IT experts had started sharing their perspective around the next big thing in IT. A platform which makes the IT Infrastructure of organizations simplified, responsive and adaptive !
Renato Recio , an IBM Fellow & CTO of IBM System Networking spoke about the state of Software Defined Networking in his blog . As per Recio SDN is in the early adoption phase today, but it is no longer technologies for companies that can spend significant resources in developing their own networks (e.g., Google, Microsoft). Instead smaller companies, such as Tervela and Selerity are using IBM’s SDN solutions in production environments today.
He goes on describe that one of the issues SDN has faced is the lack of a widely available, common platform that application and appliance developers can focus on.
Dr. Casimer DeCusatis also talks about the 5 reasons why software defined networking makes a difference . In his post he describes SDN as: “SDN is fundamentally distinguished from other networking technologies because it abstracts the underlying hardware complexity, separating the management and control planes from the data plane. Some consequences of this abstraction include more centralized management, perhaps through cloud middleware or NaaS such as the... [Continue Reading]
IBM's latest study, Undercloud cover: How leaders are accelerating competitive differentiation , states that “Over the next three years, cloud’s strategic importance to business users is expected to double from 34 percent to 72 percent, even surpassing their IT counterparts at 58 percent."
What are market leaders doing differently?
Today cloud is a business reality, a phenomenon where everything is done, executed, stored and distributed through internet of things. The leading organizations, called pacesetters , have discovered cloud as a growth engine and have adopted cloud to the highest levels. These organizations draw valuable insights from their data and transform how they make decisions. It enables them to tap expertise from across their entire ecosystem and enjoy competitive advantage through customer engagement, better decisions and deeper collaboration.
What are the other organizations loosing?
The other organizations that are still in initial stages of cloud deployment are falling behind the pacesetters in reinventing customer relationship by 136%, using analytics by 170% and leverage expert knowledge across their ecosystem by 79%.
Are you thinking of moving to cloud and are worried about some issues?
Adopting cloud at highest level can have a few concerns as security, speed and disruption to existing business, exposure to new competitors, the need to develop and... [Continue Reading]
I routinely follow a number of blogs by storage industry thought leaders. Among them is a usually insightful blog by EMC’s Chuck Hollis. Last Friday I read his post titled Software-Defined Storage – Where Are We ? As Chuck described, the post was intended to explore “Where are the flags being planted? Is there any consistency in the perspectives? How do various vendor views stack up? And what might we see in the future? ” The questions themselves captured my attention. First, they are great questions that everyone who is watching this space should want answered. Second, I wanted to see which vendors EMC was interested in comparing with. Notably missing from Chuck’s list was IBM, a vendor who both has a lot to say and a lot to offer on the subject of software defined.
I thought Chuck did a nice job in the sections of his post on Basic [Software Defined Storage] SDS Concepts and Towards a Superset of Characteristics . My only critique would be that he didn’t acknowledge some of the forward leaning work being done in the space. For example, in the area of concepts he rightly observed of the past that “there is little consensus on what is software-defined storage, and what isn’t” but he failed to acknowledge the important work by the team at IDC in providing the industry with an unbiased nomenclature and taxonomy for software-based storage. See my post from a couple... [Continue Reading]
If you are like most of the clients I deal with, you are starting to recognize the storage part of your infrastructure represents a BIG opportunity for improvement in 2013 – in agility, in efficiency, and in cost. When demand (data growth) outpaces supply (ability of hardware vendors to increase areal density driving down costs) as dramatically as it has begun to do, something has to change in the way storage infrastructure is approached in order to help balance the equation again. That ‘change’ creates a perfect economic environment for vendor innovation resulting in creative new solutions for clients. If you have been paying attention to the storage space, you’ve noticed an increased investment pace as vendors explore technical innovations and try to explain these innovations to potential clients. One of my biggest frustrations though is when the industry can’t settle on terminology for describing a solution approach leaving clients thoroughly confused and paralyzed.
Think about how long it took us to settle down on the term ‘cloud’. Most folks felt like ‘cloud’ was going to help them, but it has taken quite a while for the industry at large to understand what exactly ‘cloud’ means and how to get there. Software-defined Storage (SDS) is another of those terms that holds great promise for IT managers, but is suffering from lack of definition. ESG analyst Mark Peters recently noted in an... [Continue Reading]
According to the recent IBM Center for Applied Insights Study , the number of enterprises moving to cloud will more than double in the next few years as they seek to transition their IT from a cost center to a strategic center of business innovation. Cloud can improve the responsiveness of the IT infrastructure and implementing the right cloud framework can help you achieve the desired business outcomes without increasing risk or cost. Think of flexibility, automation, integration; these are the enablers to an efficient cloud delivery and components of a Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) , an IT infrastructure that brings high degree of flexibility, integrates the data center workloads and resources by automating the entire data center. A Software Defined Infrastructure or Environment is an enabler and ideal architecture for private, public and hybrid clouds where enterprises take advantage of virtualization not just in servers, but also in networking and security , storage and availability, management and automation. With flexibility and automation capabilities, Software Defined Environment (SDE) is a vital component of cloud that enable data center administrators to use a single graphical user interface to do everything from deploying virtual machines to assigning storage to configuring networks hence... [Continue Reading]
If Billy Beane , of Moneyball fame, were the Chief Operating Officer of an enterprise, couldn’t you hear him saying, “If our enterprise cloud and network are good, then why don’t they work good?”
Can’t you just hear this discussion happening in many board rooms today? I can!
Enterprises are struggling with cloud and software defined networks -- just as Brad Pitt’s Billy Beane, struggled to build a winning franchise in the movie Moneyball . Beane’s efforts to rebuild the Oakland A’s roster, to compete and win a championship with limited financial resources, is akin to the continued struggles facing enterprise IT. Pervasive issues -- shrinking IT budgets, getting the most out of the resources you can afford -- create barriers to success, and loom as large as Art Howe’s refusal to play Scott Hatteberg at first base. Not exactly the obstacles you need when trying to uncover new ways to attract new clients, create market leadership and differentiation or accelerate delivery of new services.
With these challenges in mind, here are my 3 takeaways on how Moneyball applies to Cloud and Software Defined Networks:
Adapt or die: Billy Beane, the general manager of a small-market, low-budget team, is faced with the seemingly impossible task of rebuilding a contender without three All-Stars: Giambi, Damon and Isringhausen. Adapting his approach, and applying Bill James’ Sabermetrics... [Continue Reading]
IBM InterConnect 2013 kicked off in style as more than 2500 top professionals from around the world attended the conference to discover how information and technology serve as the catalysts for unleashing innovation and gaining competitive advantage. The 3-day conference, from October 9-11, 2013 in Singapore, left the audiences to experience about some of the hottest trends in business and IT today including Cloud , Big Data & Analytics , Software Defined Environment , Mobile , Social Business and more with a broad agenda of general sessions, keynotes, solution sessions, including business best practices and technology roadmaps.
Each session at InterConnect was unique as it addressed some of the pressing issues organizations are facing with the ever-growing technological changes by building a smarter approach to the technology. Likewise, one of the most talked about sessions during InterConnect was “Cloud as the Growth Engine for Smarter Enterprise” presented by prominent international speakers including IBM senior leaders. The session was unique and exciting as it not only explained why Cloud is critical to enterprises to optimize their social, mobile and big data workloads but also described how IBM is helping thousands of clients realize the transformational benefits of cloud, providing the expertise, cloud technologies and choice of delivery models.
Business leaders are focused on not only the building and engineering part... [Continue Reading]